Over 27 Tons of Food and Medical Equipment Transported to Honduras by Charleston AF Reservists > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article

As part of a weekend-long aircrew training mission in Central America, Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston airlifted more than 54 000 pounds of food and medical equipment donated to the base here, February 12-14, 2022.

The humanitarian delivery was part of a C-17 Globemaster III aircrew training mission and was coordinated under the Denton Cargo Humanitarian Program, which allows donated humanitarian cargo to be transported at no additional cost to U.S. taxpayers to aboard military aircraft on an available space base. Since a crew training mission was already required, the crew took the opportunity to deliver the humanitarian cargo, which was received by charities in Honduras.

The objectives of this mission were to support the Denton program and help the Honduran people with this cargo,” said Lt. Col. Derek Bishop, 315 AW’s chief security officer, who piloted the aircraft during the flight from delivery. “Also, this mission is really useful for loadmasters, and is even useful for pilots.”

Bishop said flying in Central and South America requires pilot skills that cannot be easily practiced elsewhere, such as responding to weather changes, being aware of the terrain, language challenges with traffic control foreign airline, etc. Flying here helps pilots keep their skills sharp.

“It’s different in Central America and South America – today we had to do a full procedure approach,” Bishop gave as an example. “Here you won’t get standard vectors like you’re used to in, say, Western Europe or the US, so you have to be on your game.”

Combining a training mission with a humanitarian delivery also enables loadmasters – the aircrew responsible for handling cargo and all passengers carried on board the aircraft – to meet periodic currency requirements, a declared Tech. sergeant. Scott Guerin, 317th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. Guerin has been a rigger for almost eight years and successfully completed his checkride this weekend, so he is qualified as a rigger for another 17 months.

“This verification is known as the ‘no notice’ verification,” Guerin said. “No-notice checks can be carried out on any mission, without prior knowledge of the loadmaster. This allows us to stay on the books and continue to acquire the knowledge necessary to remain proficient as a loadmaster. »

Loadmasters are an essential part of the C-17 crew. For this delivery, they ensured that the weight of the cargo was within the aircraft’s limits for safe flying, and ensured that the cargo was properly restrained to prevent it from shifting in flight. Upon arrival in Honduras, they directed and facilitated the unloading of 16 pallets of cargo, mustering of material handling equipment (MHE) and disengagement of cargo restraints.

“I’m expected to be able to accomplish everything in terms of loading and unloading goods,” Guerin said. “This includes knowledge of the weight and size limits of cargo that can be loaded onto the aircraft. In addition, knowledge of aircraft systems such as oxygen, hydraulics and electrical systems is required.

As reservists with civilian careers and living outside of the military, reserve weekend missions like this offer aircrews who have civilian jobs the chance to maintain their flight currency needs as they are held to the same standards as active duty flyers.

“Currently, I am a stay-at-home dad of three children, however, being a crew member in the Reserve provides many opportunities to train and fly,” Guerin said. “It’s incredibly satisfying to be on missions like this and to know that we’re helping to make a difference in people’s lives. It also helps build confidence as we are able to achieve many training goals. »

Dual-purpose missions like this help the Air Force Reserve maintain perishable skills and stay ready for any possible event so that when rapid global mobility is needed, aircrews from the C-17 Reserve are ready to respond, adding strategic depth to military Active Duty, but also remaining qualified for full-fledged Reserve missions. Reserve aircrews also help retain the investment made in training active duty pilots, who, after serving their enlistment, would otherwise potentially leave military service. They are also cost effective for the Air Force Reserve since the humanitarian cargo was donated and used the space already available on the aircraft. Denton’s cargo missions work well for Reserve crews because they’re planned well in advance, giving members plenty of time to coordinate and create minimal fuss, Bishop said.

What was delivered?

A total of more than 54,000 pounds of rice and vegetables, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and physiotherapy equipment, and teaching supplies for special education, all combined over 16 Full aircraft pallets – each the size of four conventionally sized pallets – were unloaded at Soto Cano, Honduras.

The shipment is destined for aid organizations serving a combined community of more than 275,000 people in Honduras. Rural schools, orphanages and the most needy families in the poorest regions of Honduras are the main beneficiaries of charitable aid. The delivery was not in response to a specific event in Honduras, but as part of long-term humanitarian support from community charities in the United States.

Several rural villages will receive rice-based meals as food is distributed by Honduran aid organizations, which is expected to happen over the next five weeks. Some of the biggest beneficiaries are the local Honduras Compassion Partners in La Paz and the Association of Pastors in Rivera Hernandez, as well as other groups in the region.

The food was donated by ministries across the United States. One of the biggest donors was Abundant Rain Ministries of Coweta, Oklahoma.

The medical equipment, destined for the Gabriela Alvarado Municipal Rehabilitation Center in Danli, Honduras, is intended for support services for people with disabilities in the Danli region. It consisted largely of disability rehabilitation devices, physiotherapy and speech therapy supplies, as well as educational materials for students with special needs, and is estimated to help 350 people at a time. It was offered by Helping Hands for Honduras of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Interfaith Service to Latin America of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sometimes, but not always, crew members have seen firsthand the impact Denton deliveries have on recipients.

“Unfortunately, as loadmasters, we can’t see where the cargo is going after it leaves our plane,” said Guerin, a loadmaster. “However, that doesn’t take away from the satisfaction you get from knowing that you are helping to make a difference in our international community.”

“A Denton mission that I remember,” Guerin continued, “we brought in a disused fire truck for the emergency services to use. Firefighters came out and saw him as we unloaded him. I could tell they were happy to have him and it was great to know that we helped make their incredibly difficult job a little easier.

Bishop said that from his past experiences on Denton program missions, he has seen the impact delivered cargo has on those who receive it.

“It’s appreciated, I know that,” Bishop said. “The one that sticks in my mind is when we went to Haiti and brought school buses, and you saw the people who got them there and how grateful they were.”

The Denton Cargo program was established under the Denton Amendment of 1986, named after then-US Senator Jeremiah Denton of Alabama, and allows humanitarian cargo to be flown on military aircraft based on space available, so there is no additional cost to the United States. taxpayers. It is administered by the Department of Defense, the Department of State and USAID.

All goods transported under the program are fully vetted to ensure that they will be best used by the people they are intended to reach and cannot be easily obtained in the region. It must also be safe, well packaged and weighed before being allowed to fly on military aircraft.

For more information about the Air Force Reserve’s 315th Airlift Wing, visit 315aw.afrc.af.mil/ or facebook.com/315AW/.

For more information about the Denton Cargo program, visit usaid.gov/work-usaid/partnership-opportunities/humanitarian-responders/denton-program.

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